Recognizing that many of its small-business customers are increasingly provisioning and using cloud-hosted applications to manage and market their companies, Internet provider Comcast Business Services has created its own curated suggestions featuring the same.
The new Upware marketplace currently features services in three primary categories: data backup, data security and collaboration. The idea is that small-business owners can purchase and manage these applications in one location, rather than having to randomly get them from the individual sites. There's a single sign-on feature, which makes it simpler (in theory at least) for individual users. Likewise, support, management and troubleshooting are handled centrally.
Comcast said it picked the applications it has chosen to include in Upware with certain security, redundancy and customer service requirements in mind.
"Upware simplifies what can be a complex world of choices when evaluating cloud-based services," said Kevin O'Toole, senior vice president and general manager of new business solutions at Comcast Business Services.
You're likely to recognize many of the apps that are represented currently. Here's a list (in alphabetical order):
- Box (secure content sharing and collaboration starting at $44.85 per month)
- Carbonite (online backup starting around $20.95 per month)
- Digital Safe (a service starting at $14.95 per month for saving things like PIN numbers, financial data or medical records)
- Microsoft Exchange (one hosted mailbox is free for Comcast customers; each additional one is $6.99 per month)
- MozyPro Online (backup starting at $9.95 for desktops or $24.95 for servers)
- Norton Internet Security Online (free)
- Signature Support (which provides 250 gigabytes of backup support and IT support starting at $29.95 per month)
- Soonr (secure content sharing and collaboration starting at $23.85 per month)
- Websense (complete Web security starting at $1.023.75 per year)
- YouSendIt (secure file sharing and sending for $24.95 per month)
Comcast Business Services plans to add additional applications in the future, in these existing categories as well as in new ones that address marketing and customer relationship management needs.